JBLM to Trim Civilian Workforce to Reflect Army Restructuring

first_imgJoint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) plans to eliminate about 900 civilian and contractor positions, or 5.5 percent of its existing civilian workforce, over the next two years, according to Army data released to the Tacoma News Tribune.The news comes on the heels of the Army’s announcement in July about its plans to shrink its active-duty end strength from 490,000 to 450,000 soldiers by the end of fiscal 2018. Officials at the time said the restructuring would be accompanied by civilian cutbacks, but as recently as last November the Army said it had not yet determined how many civilian employees would be affected.The Army’s latest restructuring is slated to eliminate 1,251 soldiers at the installation in the South Sound region of Washington state.Leaders at JBLM have been meeting to figure out how they’ll cope with hundreds fewer workers to support the installation’s day-to-day operations. Those reductions, along with additional staffing cuts expected through 2022, “will fundamentally change how we operate on base,” said Greta Powell, chief of the base’s resource management office.“It’s bleak,” Powell said.The Army plans to achieve the cutbacks primarily through attrition and retirements, said Army spokesman Lt. Col. Joe Buccino.As the Army draws down from two wars, it will need fewer civilians to run its installations, according to the story. One reason is that some functions filled by civilians now can be handled by soldiers, such as gate security. In other cases, the shrinking number of military personnel will require a smaller installation support staff.“This isn’t a crisis or a catastrophe,” said Tom Knight, the base’s chief of staff. “This is an opportunity to reassess ourselves to change the way we’re doing business here for a lot of the right reasons. We have much more of a home-station military right now,” Knight said.In advance of the cuts, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) in July directed state agencies to develop a plan for helping service members and civilian workers find new careers. Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img read more

Zillow uses VR to try to make online real estate more authentic

first_img Tags E-commerce Virtual Reality Virtual Reality Apps Zillow’s 3D Home tool lets real estate agents show immersive VR views of homes for sale. You click arrows at the bottom to navigate from room to room or select rooms from the right side of the page. Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET Real estate is getting a bit more virtual with 3D immersive tours at Zillow, a major player in online home sales.The company added a feature called 3D Home to its site and app Monday that lets you step from virtual room to virtual room as you’re shopping online. Real estate agents can capture the imagery using an iPhone or Ricoh’s 360-degree cameras like the Theta V and Theta Z1.The result, Zillow hopes, is you should get a better feel for what might well be one of the most expensive purchases in your life. Virtual reality has limited mainstream appeal, even among gamers, but it still holds potential for when you want to be transported to a different realm.”One of Zillow’s core goals has been to make buying and selling homes dramatically easier,” said Josh Weisberg, Zillow’s product leader for 3D and computer vision. “Giving a buyer or renter an immersive or authentic sense of what a home is like is a big step toward making the overall real estate transaction more seamless.”Think of it as the Tinder profile photo problem but for houses. Everybody wants to look their best in an online dating profile, but it’s a problem when would-be dates don’t find out soon enough you’re not a 10/10. If expectations are too far from reality in real estate, negotiations are a waste of time for both buyer and seller.For now, stepping through the 3D home is like using Google Maps’ Street View: you see arrows that let you click or tap around to different rooms. You won’t be swooping through a 3D zone like you might in a VR video game.Zillow's 3D Home tool captures imagery from iPhones or Ricoh Theta 360-degree cameras and processes it. That includes HDR processing for tricky exposure situations.Zillow’s 3D Home tool captures imagery from iPhones or Ricoh Theta 360-degree cameras and processes it. That includes HDR processing for tricky exposure situations like nighttime views. Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET Later, Zillow hopes to speed up the virtual room display and make it smoother to virtually travel around, with better reconstructions of the perspectives between camera positions. And the company expects to add an ability to automatically generate floor plans, another useful addition for buyers and sellers.Zillow’s 3D Home tool is designed to be easy for photographers to use so home sellers and their agents can add the 3D views affordably to ordinary homes for sale, not just luxury mansions, Weisberg said. Photographing a 3,000-square-foot home takes about 10 or 15 minutes, with shots taken for each room.The idea is to make 3D home tours more accessible to people who don’t have expensive photography setups, which can involve lots of labor and expensive gear. Now the Zillow app captures the imagery, processes it into a 3D map then presents it online.”The overwhelming major of home sales are under $1 million, so it’s been a struggle,” Weisberg said. “If you’re a buyer of one of these homes, you don’t get access to these more immersive experiences.” Share your voice 1 Commentlast_img read more

Chinas Manufacturing Index Slides in November PBOC Should Introduce More Stimulus

first_imgChina’s manufacturing index slipped in November reflecting the growing weakness in the world’s second largest economy.Two separate surveys published on Monday triggered a new set of concerns from experts who think the People’s Bank of China should introduce more regulations to steer away from a hard market crash.The SlideChina’s official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 50.3, an eight-month low and was 0.05 points down from October’s 50.8 reading.The final HSBC/Markit China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) was unchanged at the six-month low of 50.0 but the figure is estimated to be the breakeven point – which separates expansion and contraction – for China’s economy.While the official survey focuses on the performance of large, government-owned factories, the HSBC survey analyzes growth among the smaller and private manufacturers. Both surveys showed a slide.Weak demand from overseas clients has put a damper on the manufacturing industry. Domestic demand exceeded foreign demand and new export orders also decreased.”The PMI data suggests that fundamentals are still very weak. Investment in property and manufacturing remains weak, so the government is the only one spending. And when government spending wanes in the winter months, the economy falls off,” Larry Hu, an economist at Macquarie Group told MarketWatch, referring to the fact that construction projects usually take a hit during the winters.Failed Attempt?The People’s Bank of China recently lowered its lending rate by 40 base points. The cut came as a surprise to many because the government was reluctant to admit that the economy was shrinking. But that didn’t seem to work for the country.”The PBOC’s rate cut appears to have failed to improve sentiment, and we see little improvement in activity indicators in November,” ANZ wrote in a research note, according to Reuters.What to ExpectGoing forward, experts believe that the Chinese government will introduce more stimuli to help revive the economy.”In order to maintain growth for the whole year at around 7.5 percent (the official target), we believe that Chinese authorities will intensify easing efforts in December to accelerate growth momentum,” ANZ’s research note read.Barclays predicts two more benchmark cuts in interest rates in the first half of 2015 and three cuts in the reserve ratio deposits, the first one of which is expected this month.”Given China’s structural challenges, we continue to believe more rate cuts are necessary. We believe that lowering rates will mainly help to reduce the debt burden, lower financial risks, support business sentiment, and sustain private demand,” Jian Chang of Barclays wrote in a note to CNBC.Some experts suggest the government must cut taxes to boost the economy.last_img read more

4 get Bangla Academy award

first_img.Four personalities have been chosen for the Bangla Academy Sahitya Puroshkar 2018.Director general of Bangla Academy poet Habibullah Siraji announced the names at a press briefing at the academy on Monday afternoon.The award recipients are poet Kazi Rosy (Poetry), Mohit Kamal (Literature), Syed Mohammad Shahed (Essay and Research) and Afsan Chowdhury (Literature on Liberation War Affairs).The winners will receive a cheque for Tk 2 lakh and crests each..However, awards are not being given for translation, biography and travelogue, drama, science, technology and environment, and juvenile literature categories this time.Prime minister Sheikh Hasina will distribute the awards among the recipients at the inaugural ceremony of the month-long Amar Ekushey Book Fair on 1 February.Last year, twelve personalities were given the Bangla Academy Sahitya Puraskar 2017.Bangla Academy Sahitya Puroshkar (Bangla Academy Literary Award) is given by the Bangla Academy of Bangladesh in recognition of creative genius in advancement and overall contribution to the field of Bengali language and literature.last_img read more

Heres How to Build a Strong Security Team to Keep Your Company

first_img Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals 5 min read May 5, 2016 Building any kind of team is not easy. From hiring to managing and ensuring goals are met, it can make a founder’s head spin. Adding the additional layer of finding a top-notch security team to ensure your “baby” is safe and sound adds extra stress to an already frazzled entrepreneur.But there is hope.We reached out to several industry experts who are in the know about security issues and asked what advice they had on building a strong technical team.Related: 7 Cybersecurity Layers Every Entrepreneur Needs to UnderstandHere is what they had to say:Security needs to part of the foundation of the company.Security teams are the most effective when security is baked into the entire company culture. Founders may not have the luxury of hiring someone for whom security is their only job, but it does have to be someone’s job.For founders working with lean teams, assigning different security channels to different groups can be a good strategy. For example, it makes sense for network security to stay with an IT resource, but enforcement of other security protocols — like enforcing the wearing of ID badges and escorting visitors — could fall to an administrative resource.– Cortney Thompson, Chief Technology Officer of Green House Data, an environmentally conscious data center serviceLook for people who are part of the security community.You want to hire people that are well connected to the industry, who will leverage established best practices and tools and who are comfortable leveraging services vs. trying to build everything from scratch.Also make sure you validate the credentials of a potential hire. There are many excellent, technically-skilled people out there but also many who exaggerate their experiences and expertise. The security community is fairly tight-knit, though, so there’s a good opportunity to both validate and find strong candidates by reaching out to your network of companies.– Arne Josefsberg, Chief Information Officer of GoDaddy, an Internet domain registrar and web hosting companyRelated: Why Small-Business Entrepreneurs Should Care About CybersecurityHire people who fit the company’s current needs.Most SMBs don’t have the resources for a dedicated security team, in which case the founder will need to look for technical experts who have some security experience. Seeking out this diversified background is important because security needs to be designed into the architecture and company’s solutions from the get-go, not added as an afterthought.   Once resources are available, the initial team has to be strong and trusted — people preferably from your network. Quality is especially important at this phase, because they will develop the core product, which is critical for the company’s initial success. These people will be the leaders who will be responsible for growing out the team.  — Pravin Kothari, founder and CEO of CipherCloud, an enterprise cloud security companyCulture fit matters.Ensure a cultural fit, and you’ll be well on your way.  Too often, security teams will be working at cross purposes with another team.  Everyone needs to be at the same table with the same goal: the success of the business.  If the security team is isolated, they will be less inclined to prioritize user experience and the effectiveness of revenue-producing departments will suffer. If security folks are grabbing drinks after work with sales folks, they will work better together on a day-to-day basis.  The synergy will result in more user-friendly tools, higher transparency and increased security with little hindrance to top-line revenue goals.– Ray Potter, CEO of SafeLogic, a company providing security, encryption and FIPS validation products to applicationsTurn to an architect.Founders should build a security team around an architect. Contract one from a third party or hire one, if you have the resources. They will be able to dig into and understand your organization’s unique security concerns, create a plan to keep you safe and then execute on that plan. If you hire an engineer first, they can run the technical side of security but may not be able to see things holistically. Setting up a comprehensive plan that you can expand as you grow is key to maintaining security over the long run.– Greg Kushto, Director of Security Practices at Force 3, a network security company.Look outside.The fact is many businesses today are having to turn to outside security experts and resources after they have been hit with a serious and costly cyberattack. Rather than waiting for a ransomware or spyware attack to engage added security talent, consider leveraging outsourced security to bolster and support ongoing security as a preventative measure. Outsourcing IT security offers growing businesses a cost-effective way to engage proven talent and is far less expensive than hiring expert support in the midst of a security crisis when a business is more likely to “pay whatever it takes” to restore data, service and security. In addition, outsourcing allows you to ramp up security resources during key times, such as a product launch or migration, and cut back resources and costs during quieter times.  — Anna Frazzetto, Chief Digital Technology Officer and SVP at Harvey Nash, an IT recruiting firm Related: The Biggest Cybersecurity Threat at Your Office Could Be You (Infographic)  center_img Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Register Now »last_img read more